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Craig Wighton Recalled


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Source: The Courier

Dundee boss Paul Hartley has recalled striker Craig Wighton as the club’s current injury crisis continues to bite.

The 17-year-old ended his month-long loan spell at Brechin City on a high by netting both goals in a terrific 2-0 win over League One leaders Stranraer at Stair Park on Saturday. But despite the Angus club’s hopes of prolonging the rising star’s stay at Glebe Park, Hartley will welcome Wighton back into the fold to boost the Dark Blues’ attacking options for the Premiership run-in.

The manager headed to Pittodrie on Saturday with a hugely depleted squad, and the situation appears to have worsened in the wake of the entertaining 3-3 draw with league leaders Aberdeen. Bulgarian defender Kostadin Gadzhalov is the latest player on the treatment table after injuring his calf late on, and Hartley admits he could well be short of options for Wednesday night’s home game against Kilmarnock.

“We’ve not got big numbers,†he stressed. “We travelled to Pittodrie with 18 players – that’s all we had. So it will probably need to be the same squad that turns up on Wednesday. They just need to make sure that their rest and recovery is really important now over the next three or four days.â€

Hartley could not hide his disappointment after the Dark Blues threw away a 3-1 lead in the closing stages at the weekend, although he heaped praise on his players for their overall performance.

He continued: “I think when you are 3-1 up with 10 minutes to go you think the game’s won, but the game lasts for 94 minutes or so. So I’m really disappointed for the players. I thought they put so much into it and I thought we were in control. I thought we limited Aberdeen to very few opportunities, especially second half.

“We had a great shape about us and I thought the goals we scored were terrific. I thought the players were outstanding, and I thought it was a really good game of football. We went to Pittodrie with a gameplan, and I think we’ve done well against Aberdeen this year.

“We’ve scored goals, we’ve caused them problems and I think that was probably the best away performance there’s been at Pittodrie this season. They were eight unbeaten with eight clean sheets, but I think we showed we’re not a bad team on our day. The goals we scored were terrific and I thought we had some really outstanding performances.

“I thought Greg Stewart was excellent on the left hand side for us, he did a job on Shay Logan and he caused him so many problems down that side. I thought Luka Tankulic did well, but overall I thought the players were great. We just switched off a wee bit and we seemed to get a wee bit tired in the last 10 minutes.

“We gave Aberdeen a lift with the penalty because we had quietened the crowd down and we felt that was important. I know we go a goal down after the first few minutes but I thought we worked our gameplan really well.â€

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Although I think he needs to be playing week in week out and a further month at least could have helped him, I am delighted to hear that he is back. I know he has been struggling all seaon with niggling injuries, but after some good game time with brechin and a few goals he should be match sharp. 

With Peaso gone, Clarkson injured I think now is a great time for Craig to stake a claim for a place. Whether or not its up top or (where i'd like to see him) playing the number 10 or middle of the 3. 

Before anyone jumps on and states he's "unproven" or "not ready" I agree to a certain extend and i am not hailing him a messiah or anything, I just think the time is right for him to get a chance, and with the system Hartley plays I think he could fit in nicely.

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